When I started thinking about who I needed to forgive in my adoption, I immediately began looking on the surface of my journey and found a lot of candidates:

My parents, for not supporting and understanding when we decided adoption was our choice.

Our friends, for calling us selective parents and wondering how a parent who already has kids could choose to “give one away.”

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The Church, for trying to talk us out of our decision to place our child for adoption.

My list continued to grow in my head, but as I started thinking of why I needed to forgive these people, I realized that, for the most part, I already had. There was nothing that needed to be said and they were immediately wiped off of my list.

Then I began digging deeper, and a few “big ones” came to mind. These are some that I pretend do not bother me, but I know better than anyone when I am fooling myself.

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First things first: I need to forgive my husband. He is a birth father and he signed the same papers that I signed and he made the same choices that I made. I have always rested on his faults being the reason we chose adoption, and that’s unfair to him. I chose adoption right next to him and I enabled his life choices that brought us to the fork in the road. I am just as guilty of these choices as he is. I have been unfair, and I also ask for his forgiveness as I work on forgiving him.

I need to forgive adoptive parents everywhere who have at any time made me feel like less of a mother because of my choice. I allow my internal guilt to twist simple words or comments and turn them into a personal attack on my heart. This is my guilt and sadness being outwardly projected with no fault to them. I need to have mercy on my heart.

I need to forgive other birth mothers for openly judging me for my choice to place a child after I had parented. I often hear, “But you’re married! You have a job and a family.” I need to not allow those comments to change how I feel about myself. They do not know our back story or our struggle, nor do they need to. I need to allow others to have their opinions without letting it affect how I feel about myself. I need to remember that I am a good mother, no matter in what form.

Who else do I need to forgive? Simply put, I need to forgive myself. I need to allow myself to be human. I need to allow myself to say, regarding my choices, “It is okay.” I have forgiven many people in my life, regardless of if we have a relationship or not, but I have not forgiven myself. Why couldn’t I do it? Why did I choose adoption when I knew that I could parent? I am not sure if I will find the path to full and complete forgiveness of myself, but I am working on loving myself at least half as much as I love others. I am working on forgiving myself at least half as much as I forgive others. Every time I think about adoption, a pit hits my stomach. The pit of self-loathing. I need that pit to be overwhelmed with acceptance of my choices and love for myself through my faults. I may never gain a full understanding of the life-altering choice I made when I placed my child for adoption, but learning to forgive my own heart and those intertwined with my journey helps me gain perspective on how much I need to love and forgive ME!